Meet the Lucas Oil Speedway Staff: Feeding hungry fans makes Diamond Cafe Manager Hoffman smile
WHEATLAND, Missouri (March 7, 2019) - One of life's most basic ways to make others smile is serving up tasty food. Laurie Hoffman relishes the opportunity to make hungry Lucas Oil Speedway fans happy.
"Everybody's happy when they're fed," said Hoffman, Manager of Lucas Oil Speedway's Diamond Cafe. "That's been in my blood since I was young, making everybody happy through food. It's always been fulfilling to me."
Hoffman took over as Diamond Cafe Manager halfway through the 2018 season after spending two years prior to that as the assistant manager. The southern California native, who lives about three blocks from the speedway, prepared food trays for the VIP suites before that and has worked at the speedway for six years total.
Managing the largest department at the facility, with nearly 30 workers on a typical race night between the Diamond Cafe and pit-side concession area, Hoffman said her goal is to keep the menu current while connecting with what the public wants.
For instance, a taco salad was added to the menu last year and proved to be popular. Other items have come and gone. Staples such as burgers and hot dogs are forever popular.
"We want to give choices to people who don't eat meat or who want to eat light," she said. "We try to give some different options. This year we are streamlining our menu, trying to give people what they want while keeping prices down and keeping the consumer in mind.
"We are streamlining to make sure we don't have long lines. Sometimes, if you have too many menu items it causes for a line backup. We want to get people in and out as quick as they want to get out."
One of the most-challenging aspects of managing concessions is the weather. An iffy forecast makes it difficult to know how much food to order and prepare. Hoffman said it's key to have hot food ready for the fans when they arrive, but a sudden downpour can cancel the program and leave a lot of wasted food.
Even with those challenges, Hoffman said she loves the joy that feeding the public brings in a family setting. Her fiancee, Tim Gilliam, works at the speedway in maintenance and her father, Dennis Hargiss, is a golf-car driver shuttling fans from the front gate to the grandstand area. Her mother, Lil Hargiss, has worked in concessions.
"Working here has been great," Hoffman said. "You make friends and the friends are like family. You fee a real sense of family when you come here."
The 2019 Lucas Oil Speedway season kicks off March 30 with an open test and tune. The Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series begins April 6 with action in all four of the weekly divisions - Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods, Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models and O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks.
To inquire about tickets, VIP suites or camping, contact McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at Nichole@LucasOilSpeedway.com.
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984